The new state budget is full of tax increases that aren’t accountable, aren’t transparent and are merely “passing the buck” to local governments. Communities across North Carolina are starting to realize legislators handed them a raw deal in the $19 Billion 2009-10 budget.
As reported in the Greensboro News and Record, part of beer and wine taxes (which were just raised) will NOT stay in cities and counties as they are supposed to, but instead be highjacked by the state to meet general fund spending.
What happens when the local governments are shortchanged and don’t have money to build schools, provide water and sewer and police and fire protection, after they passed their annual budget based on promises made by the state? You guessed it, raise property taxes to make up for it. Greensboro alone expects to lose $800,000, Guilford County $250,000 and about $22,000,000 less for local governments across the state.
They could have reduced the cost of government overall as our Can Do Budget suggested. Instead they chose shell games to dodge the blame for even more tax increases, shirking their responsibility, hoping no one would notice. Sorry, we’re not that stupid.
Former NC State chancellor James Oblinger had his salary slashed last Friday--from $420,000 to $173,000. While this salary might outrage some in of itself, in case some of you forgot, James Oblinger was the chancellor responsible for (lying about and then admitting to) hiring Mary Easley.
The News & Observer turned to the John Locke Foundation for an opinion on the pay cut:
John Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation, a conservative
think tank, said that while the amount of money saved isn't too
significant, the salary change had symbolic importance.
very least, it's a lapse in judgment that deserves some response," Hood
said of Oblinger's actions. "If the board had gone with the original
plan, I think there would have been another round of public outrage."
Erskine Bowles, president of the UNC system, is concerned about that outrage. In light of a bloated bureaucracy and golden parachutes, Bowles wants to get the UNC system out of the spotlight.
The Pope Center's Jay Schalin, does his part to keep that from happening.
In response to the possibility of the the President dropping his insistence on a government run insurance option, Sen. Arlen Specter of PA is being quoted on WPTF radio as saying "A system of co-ops might provide the same results."--------Exactly!
Greg Mankiw learns that the town pier on Nantucket has low rental rates for slots and an annual lottery for the right to rent one. The private pier has rents that are five times higher and plenty of openings.
I am glad the town is protecting boat owners' right to dock. I just wish I could figure out how this relates to health care.
you believe that a marketplace is uncompetitive if there's no government option — that competition is only between a government-supported entity and private firms (competition between a myriad of private firms isn't "true" competition because wull, ya jes cain trust em private bidnisses!).
See HHS Secretary Sebelius' comments yesterday, for example:
"I think what's important is choice and competition, and I'm convinced that at the end of the day the plan will have both of those -- but that is not the essential element," she said of the government-run insurance option on CNN's "State of the Union" show. ...
"I think there will be a competitor to private insurers," Sebelius said. "That's really the essential part, is you don't turn over the whole new marketplace to private insurance companies and trust them to do the right thing."
Since those remarks, there has been a confusion of messages from the White House as to whether the secretary "misspoke" or whether "the media misplayed it."
My friend Mike Adams remarked yesterday that Obama had told the press he's losing the health care debate because the private sector is running a more efficient publicity campaign. Hence, he said, the private sector is outperforming the public sector in the discussion of health care policy. He then drew the glaringly obvious object lesson.
While Obamacare zealots yell that opponents are just liars and dupes who have false or irrational reasons for taking the stance they do, Deroy Murdock points out here that there is good reason to believe that the plan will simply cost too much. We have considerable experience with government programs of this kind, and they always end up costing much more than originally projected.
Hey, Krugman -- is that a "lie" in your book? You can look up the estimated costs for, say, Medicare and compare with with the actual costs.
Resources are limited. If we do what Obama wants and give everyone all the "free" health care they want, that means doing without lots of other things. It's not irrational for people to conclude that the costs will be far too high.
As usual, Paul Krugman foams over in his efforts at promoting a socialistic plan that many Americans want nothing to do with. In this letter to the editor, Don Boudreaux takes him to task.
Editor, The New York Times
620 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10018
To the Editor:
Paul Krugman writes as if distortions, exaggerations, and lies issue
only from opponents of Obamacare ("Republican Death Trip," August 14).
He's wrong. Let's look at Moveon.org. According to that pro-Obamacare
website, "Right now, big corporations decide whether to give you
coverage, what doctors you get to see, and whether a particular
procedure or medicine is coveredhat is rationed care. And a big part
of reform is to stop that."
Talk about a distortion!
In fact, right now corporations offer a range of coverage options to
sell to you. You're free to buy or not to buy. "Big corporations" no
more decide whether to give you coverage any more than "big
corporations" decide whether to "give" you a flat-screen t.v. or what
t.v. is most suitable for you. It's your choice. Unfortunately, the
range of coverage choices is restricted by GOVERNMENT mandates that
require that all policies cover certain medical conditions, and
restricted further by GOVERNMENT-imposed limitations on interstate
competition among health insurers.
Donald J. Boudreaux
Chairman, Department of Economics
George Mason University
A new paper suggests your vote likely has a 1 in 60 million chance of deciding the presidential election. Those are better odds than your chance of winning the PowerBall jackpot and it costs less, too. Also unlike PowerBall, you have the ability to influence the votes of others and so improve the odds (at least marginally) that you had an impact on the result even if your vote itself was not decisive.
That's what Michael Barone says in his column today.
Obama was overwhelmingly popular among younger voters in 2008, but his whole agenda is harmful to their future prospects in life. He sold himself as a high-minded, forward-looking visionary, but the truth is now painfully apparent. He's an old-school pol who rewards his political allies and sneers at those who disagree with him. His economic program is hollowing out the productive sector to expand the state. He spends money recklessly on political trinkets of little or no long-run benefit -- money that young workers will be taxed to repay.
Two Canadian researchers conducted a new analysis of data from Project STAR, Tennessee's highly influential class size experiment. Their study has been published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).
They are the first to analyze the Project STAR data, while accounting for the contamination of the experimental research protocol.
By grade three over 50% of the subjects who participated in kindergarten left the STAR sample and approximately 10% of the remaining subjects switch class type annually. To the best of our knowledge, an examination of the data as the result of a sequence of contaminated treatment interventions has not been explored.
The researchers concluded,
We find benefits from small class attendance initially in all cognitive subject areas in kindergarten and the first grade. We do not find any statistically significant dynamic benefits from continuous treatment versus never attending small classes in either the second or third grade.
I doubt Ace Smith could spell libelous even if you spotted him the B and the S.
Easley's crew has been spewing the BS for so long I think the fumes have impaired their higher brain functions. If members of the general public routinely pay, oh, thousands of dollars for something, that is what the something is worth.
I knew the Down East kleptocrats did not believe in markets, but fiat pricing, that's divine right of kings stuff.
The latest TIME features a profile of U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who believes “we’re boiling the planet.”
Here’s one of the more interesting passages:
For the Obama Administration, change begins with the low-hanging fruit of energy efficiency, pursued through mandates and incentives to get vehicles to use less fuel and get appliances, buildings and factories to use less power. It's also pushing investment in wind, solar and other renewables, along with a smarter grid to exploit them. At the same time, Obama wants massive increases in federal energy research and development, plus a cap-and-trade regime that would accelerate private-sector advances by putting a price on carbon. The overall goal is to reduce emissions as well as U.S. dependence on foreign petro-thugs and a pesky vulnerability to volatile gas prices. To Republican critics, it's a radical scheme to destroy jobs and raid wallets, cooked up by élitists like Chu, who was once quoted calling U.S. gas prices too low. But Obama's message is that saving the planet makes economic sense. "We're trying to communicate that climate change is very, very serious, but hey, by the way, this is an incredible economic opportunity," Chu said.
One question no climate activist ever addresses is: If climate change represents such an “incredible economic opportunity,” why has the private sector not addressed that opportunity? Surely greedy capitalists would have found a way to make a buck on this issue within the first 10 or 20 years of global warming alarmism.
To learn how energy mandates cost jobs, click here. For more about wind power problems, click here. To learn why cap-and-trade schemes are bad, click here. For a reminder of how misguided climate policies could wreck the North Carolina economy, click here.
As you ponder the impact of the new state budget and its increased taxes on income and sales (including some types of sales that have not been taxed before), the latest National Review reminds us what we can expect from the federal tax man:
The Democrats have raised the cigarette tax. They have said that they will allow tax rates on dividends, capital gains, and high earners to rise next year. They have tried to impose hidden energy taxes through their cap-and-trade legislation. Their health-care bills raise taxes on hiring — which is to say, they indirectly raise taxes on employees. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner was recently asked on ABC whether the administration had any additional plans to raise taxes in order to close the deficit. In response he said nothing about spending cuts, and he declined to affirm (when invited to do so) Obama’s campaign pledge that people who make under $250,000 will not pay higher taxes. (White House press secretary Robert Gibbs says Obama is committed to the pledge.) Geithner added, “I think what the country needs to do is understand we’re going to have to do what it takes, we’re going to do what’s necessary.” We understand, all right.
Duke behavioral economics professor Dan Ariely offers some interesting ideas in the latest Business Week about the impact of optimism on our economy.
Among his observations:
Imagine a society in which no one would take on the risk of creating startups, developing new medications, or opening new businesses. We know most new enterprises fail in the first few years. Yet they crop up all the time, sometimes jump-starting entirely new sectors. A society in which no one is overly optimistic and no one takes too much risk? Such a culture wouldn't advance much.
What struck me about that passage was the fact that illiberal collectivist policies work in direct opposition to the conditions that generate optimism. If you know that society will “take care of you” and that any risks you take are likely to lead to rewards for the tax man, why bother?
The headline for James C. Cooper’s latest Business Weekcolumn proclaims: “Inflation? Not to Worry.”
The writer presumably bases that assessment on Cooper’s assessment of the Federal Reserve’s ability to manage the breathtaking volume of new money pumped into the economy in the name of bailouts and stimulus.
Those who have read Thomas Woods’ Meltdown are likely to treat Cooper’s predictions with a bit more skepticism.